11 month Government surplus

The ODT reports a better than forecast Government surplus in  in Surplus to requirements:

The Government accounts are in surplus by more than $2.3billion for the 11 months ended May…

The last time the Crown accounts recorded a larger year-to-date obegal surplus than the May 2016 surplus of $2.3billion was the June 2008 annual financial statements, when the year-to-date surplus was $5.6billion.

This should be something to celebrate.

The financial accounts, released by the Treasury, showed core Crown tax revenue was $64.7billion, 0.6%, or $364million higher than forecast, largely due to customs and excise duties ($188million), source deductions ($182million) and GST ($98million). The variances were a mix of timing and permanent in nature.

Core Crown expenses of $67.2billion were close to forecast.

And in what has become a familiar theme, the operating balance, which includes all the losses and gains, was in a deficit of $1.5billion, $82million larger than forecast.

The operating balance was again hit by ACC actuarial losses, this time of $880million. The Emissions Trading Scheme liability increased due to an increase in carbon prices, resulting in losses of $520billion. But the losses were partly offset by favourable movements in Crown investments of $1billion.

But the ODT says that no one cared, or at least politicians didn’t seem to care:

However, Finance Minister Bill English did not bother to put out a statement congratulating himself or saying how the Government’s fiscal prudence was paying dividends. Nor did he comment on how the accounts were subject to seasonal influences and there was no guarantee a surplus would be achieved next month.

There should have been something from Mr English, especially around whether debt repayment, more infrastructure spending or tax cuts were on the agenda.

Neither the Green, Labour nor New Zealand First parties bothered to put out a statement criticising the Government for racking up a surplus…

The end of year result should receive more attention, from the Government if it’s good news and from Labour and the greens if it’s negative.